The Seeker

A Meta-Cognitive Journal About Writing… Plus Other Stuff

Back in Iowa (“You look like you’re in your element.”)

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I’m going to pack up and truck out of the IC tomorrow as soon as work shop is over.  I’ll be kicking it old school in the luxurious Seeker headquarters by tomorrow evening, and once I pick the cat up from her summer vacation, things will be pretty much back to normal.  It’s going to sound strange to say this, but I’m not going to miss Iowa City.  That has nothing to do with not liking the town and the campus.  I like them plenty, and in tandem they have provided me with a lot of experiences and fun since mid-June.

My second day in town, I was at the grocery store stocking up for my stay when the cashier asked me if I had the local “savings card.”  I didn’t launch into my typical routine, but instead told her I wasn’t from Iowa City, or even Iowa for that matter.  She looked at me and responded, “Really?  You look like you’re in your element.”  She was right.  I was in my element.  It was confirmation that I’ve never really left college. Once I hit campus 26 years ago, the academic culture has never really left me, either.  I’ve always been comfortable in a college classroom, even if some of the college classrooms and instructors were less than ideal.  I’ve always enjoyed learning, and even though I’ve reached the end of my education in an official / monetary sense, that hasn’t lessened my appetite to keep going.  Hence I can spend time at the graduate level without earning credit and not really worry about wasting time or money.

There’s a lot to be said for being somewhere where all the good bars you’ll ever need are in walking distance.  Where there are more pizza joints than you can possibly hit even in two months.  Where you can ride your bike pretty much everywhere.  Where you’re working in a beer garden one evening and someone you don’t know but who saw you around campus comes up and says hi and you have a few drinks–and then someone else you barely know walks by, says “hi,” and sits down.  Where you’re lost in a delirium of culture events that it would take you a year or two to find and experience individually.

So if this is indeed Utopia, why not stay?  Why not pack it up and find a college town like IC or State College?  Hell, why not move 30 miles south to Evanston, which I’m already familiar with and truly love?  Evanston notwithstanding, and I have thought about moving there, it’s not a bad idea.  But I know it wouldn’t work for me.  It’s a false Utopia.  I love college campuses because of all they are, but also because I can get away from them and come back at my leisure.  More than that, and I would probably suffer from burnout or start disliking the place.  I ultimately want to retreat, apply what I’ve learned, and come back when I want to.  There’s a lot to be said for being home, sleeping in your own bed, lying on a couch (my house this summer has no couch!), and working in a fully functional kitchen.  All the cultural events can still be experienced over a greater course of time; besides, they ultimately become a distraction from doing the work you should be doing.

The mission is accomplished here.  I studied a metric ton of poetry, wrote a good deal of it, boosted my skills enough for the immediate (and even longer-term) future, and had more than my share of fun.  There’s no more need to stick around.  Home is waiting, along with all my other “adult” responsibilities.  Six months from now I’ll be drag-ass tired of winter and wanting to hang out on my balcony or ride my bike outside.  I’ll worry about all that then, and maybe find a way to write a poem about it.

 

 

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Written by seeker70

August 3, 2014 at 9:40 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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